Iowa Speedway: The Race in Pictures

Photojournalism: R. A. Fariello | Photography by Gina Graham Fariello

Iowa Speedway is the annual host to the highly anticipated Combined East/West NASCAR K & N Pro Series Race.

A total of 60 cars were entered in the event. However, the starting field was limited to just 40. The result would be that 20 entries would face the long “Haul” back home without a chance to compete in the race. This hard reality produced an added level of urgency to what was already a very competitive environment. In addition, the beginnings of a week of Severe and life threatening Weather added to the pressures on both the NASCAR K & N Pro Series and Nationwide Teams.

The race car haulers, upon arrival, are normally not allowed inside the Race Track.

NASCAR rules schedule “track entry” as part of their multitude of managerial functions.

Shown above is the Thompson Motorsports/Brett Thompson #61 Hauler, along with the Fastenal #60 Hauler of Carl Edwards, both waiting for their designated Track Entry Times.

As predicted, the excellent weather for Thursday’s arrival, gave way to heavy rains on Friday. Although Friday was scheduled as a set-up day for the K & N Pro Cars it was to be an extensive day of practice for the Nationwide Teams. Below; the rain was better than the SNOW experienced at Miller Motorsports Park!

Wet race cars and NASCAR Racing are NOT compatible concepts!

Team Owner Rich Thompson has more than the rain on his mind: Rich Thompson Trucking Inc. has trucks operating from Coast to Coast. Extensive Tornado Activity, and driver safety, is cause for concern.

Finally, all cars are inspected and the Teams prepare to leave the Track … and then get DRY

Saturday, 7 PM, is Race Day. Happily, it is sunny and warm but Severe Weather is forecast for later in the evening.

Modern track drying is mostly a function of jet-dryers; “weepers” on the other hand, are still done the old fashioned way

With the track dry, Practice begins. The #61 car was good on all the lines on the track but it seemed to lack any real quickness. It was 28th quick at the end of the session, but it was a very “drivable” Race Car

After practice, 56 cars are made ready for Qualifying.

The #61 car lines up just ahead of the well known #18 East Car. Brett Thompson Qualified 26th.

Brett reported that the car was good in Qualifying. He was sure its ability to run a multitude of lines would make it a good car in the race

The race began at 7 PM. The #61 was a very good car. By lap 44, 20 of which were run under yellow, Brett had already moved up from 26th to 12th position.

In what was a very professional move, Brett Thompson saw an opportunity to come off the outside wall, split the #39 and #7 cars, enter the third turn 3-abreast, and pass both competitors with one alert move.

At just over the midpoint of the race, pit stops began. With a caution period in progress the Pit Crew waits for the pits to open.

In the pits an unfortunate situation developed; a jack malfunction prevented it from sliding under the car. The crew lifted the car, but the damage was done: the #61 was 10th entering the pits – and 17th on exit!

The #61 exits the pits but, with only 40% of the race left, moving from 17th to 1st would be an almost impossible task: too much of the car and tires are ‘used up’ in an effort of this magnitude.

Nearing the end of the race, the #61 has worked its way to 6th position. However, its tires had “given up” as a result of the effort to get to the front. The car, at this point, was only good on the outside line.

With 10 laps to go, the Top 3 K&N Pro West Cars are shown nose to tail.

The racing was close and intense during the closing laps

On the last lap, the #61 car tries to use the low line in Turn #1. The intent was to pass 2 cars for a 4th place finish. However, with badly worn tires, the car washed out allowing the #2 car to make a pass. As the cars approach the finish line, Brett Thompson is in 7th place. All in all, and even with the Pit Stop misfortune, it was a good night for the TMS #61 Team.

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